A VETERAN who went the duration of the Second World War without a scratch will celebrate his 100th birthday today.
Richard Brown, of Eden Close, Langley joined the Territorial Army in 1932, aged just 17, ahead of a military career that would span some of the greatest battles of World War Two.
He said: “I signed up for something to do in the evenings. If I’d known there was a war coming I wouldn’t have joined!”
His family only discovered he was involved in the D-Day landings as recently as 2015 and have tried to get recognition from the French government for his service – but to no avail.
When the war started in 1939 Mr Brown was in the The Royal Fusiliers infantry regiment, but the fall of France in 1940 and the threat of German aircraft in British skies meant his unit was converted to anti-aircraft gunners and part of The Royal Artillery.
After extensive training the unit finally received the call to arms in 1944 for the top secret invasion of Europe.
Mr Brown, the company’s sergeant major, said: “We’d done so much training that we treated it as another exercise.
“I landed in the first wave at Juno Beach with the commandos and Canadians at about 6am.”
He added: “It wasn’t scary. It was just one of those things. We never retreated, we never felt scared.
“The only thing I was frightened of was missing my breakfast.”
The Royal Artillery pushed inland to the city of Caen where a battle would rage for two months before the British and Canadian forces finally captured it.
Mr Brown moved into the Netherlands before descending into Belgium, fighting in the freezing Ardennes before finally breaking into Germany.
He was in the German village of Mesum when the news broke out that the war was over in May, 1945.
He said: “We had a big booze-up when the message came over the radio.”
After the war, Mr Brown moved back to London where his wife Ivy Florence worked as a seamstress.
He moved to Britwell in the 1950s and worked for an engineering company on Slough Trading Estate until his retirement.
He will celebrate his birthday with a family celebration and his favourite meal – fish and chips.